Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Belarusian Organizations Protest Against New IMF Loans for Lukashenko

SOURCE Belarusians in Exile

On July 20, Belarusian organizations staged a protest in front of the International Monetary Fund headquarters in Washington D.C., urging the IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde to ban new loans to the dictatorial regime of Alexander Lukashenko.

In a joint letter to the IMF, human rights organizations said that by providing loans to Belarus, the Fund validates an ineffective economic model created by Lukashenko where the money is mismanaged without any oversight. 

Hundreds of protesters who came to Washington from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and other states, were wearing Lukashenko masks and holding slogans that reminded the IMF that the loans are not being spent in the socially responsible way. Some slogans said: "I don't want sanctions, I want a Maybach" and "I need money for KGB!" (KGB does still exist in Belarus). 

In the letter to IMF, Belarusian organizations stated: "The economic model that Lukashenko installed in Belarus is disastrous.  The external debt of Belarus has increased from 6.8 billion USD in 2007 to 34.2 billion in 2013. Relative to the GDP, the external debt already constitutes 53,4 %.  Worst of all, Lukashenko avoids economic reforms believing that they would empower the population and undermine his rule. 

Instead of reform, even amidst the most serious economic crises, Lukashenko uses funding from international institutions to finance a powerful repressive apparatus, manipulative propaganda, and hugely expensive and inefficient social "payoffs". Belarusian society has no control over these expenditures amidst the absence of the rule of law and the suppression of the basic rights and freedoms of people.

Human rights organizations and politicians have repeatedly called on the EU and the US government to expand targeted sanctions against the dictatorial regime in Belarus and ban trading with the state-owned companies that generate hard currency for President Lukashenko. If Belarus is not allowed to sell oil and potash, two of its main exports, the Lukashenko regime will be forced to reinstate basic human rights and release political prisoners. 

Politician Zenon Poznyak, who took part in the protest, said: "The IMF continues to provide funds to Belarus, the citizens will have to pay off the long after the dictatorial regime falls". 

Dima Shehigelsky, director of Belarusians in Exile, who co-organized the protest, said: "Lukashenko is incapable of implementing reforms – he is on his 20th year in power. Any loans to his government will just add to the external debt and will make things even worse". 

Belarusian organizations' letter to IMF can be found on BiE website:

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